When the weather is warm, we know it’s a great time to be out with your family and friends. If you are taking a beach vacation, you are probably tempted to lay out in the sun to get a tan. The bad news is that the ultraviolet light from the sun can penetrate your skin and cause skin damage. While the timing of the sunburn can depend on several factors, the signs of sunburn are usually the same and may include red skin, blisters and even flu-like symptoms. While preventing sunburn should be your ultimate goal this summer, sometimes your exposed skin may still get burned. If you do get burned, here are the 5 best ways to treat a sunburn:
1. Apply Cold Compresses
One of the best ways to treat a sunburn is by applying cold compresses to the affected area of the skin.You can use ice to make ice water for a cold compress, but avoid applying ice directly to the sunburn. You can also take a cool (but not cold) bath or shower to help soothe your skin. You may feel more comfortable taking a bath as the high water pressure of the shower might be painful on your sunburn. You should also not take a cool shower or bath for too long as it can dry out your skin and harsh soap might irritate your skin even more!
2. Apply Moisturizing Lotion
Another good way to treat sunburn is by applying aloe or a gentle over-the-counter moisturizing lotion to the skin. Be sure to avoid petroleum or oil-based ointments as they can trap the heat in your skin and make the burn worse. Continue to moisturize your skin for several days following your sunburn until you start to feel some relief.
3. Replenish Your Fluids
A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, which can lead to dehydration. Therefore, rehydrating with fluids is one of the best ways to treat a sunburn because it helps to replenish your electrolytes immediately. The best types of fluids to drink after a sunburn include water, juice or sports drinks.
4. Reduce the Inflammation
When you first notice a sunburn, it can be beneficial to take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen to help with the discomfort and inflammation. You can continue to use these drugs as directed until your sunburn starts to feel better. It can also be helpful to use a 1% over-the-counter cortisone cream to relieve the redness and swelling. In order to avoid further skin irritation, wear loose clothing and stay out of the sun.
5. Seek Medical Care
If you experience a severe sunburn where you have symptoms such as blisters, facial swelling, fever or a headache, you will need to seek immediate medical care. Be extra careful not to scratch or pop any blisters, as this can lead to infection! While seeking medical care, ask your doctor if you are taking any current medications that might be making your skin more sensitive to sunlight. As an example, there are some antidepressants, antibiotics, acne medications and birth control pills that can make skin more sensitive.
Now that you know the best ways to treat a sunburn, we hope that you can enjoy a happy and healthy summer vacation! At Mac’s Pharmacy, we are dedicated to improving your health and well-being. Learn more about how we can assist you with all of your pharmaceutical needs!